Wednesday, March 20, 2019

First Osprey of the Year!

I got lucky today and found my first Osprey of the year at the Osprey nest site on Murlark Ave in West Salem. While the female was sitting on the nest the male was circling high above calling in his shrill voice. Jeanette and I have been watching this nest site on Murlark daily for the last couple of weeks.  For the past 4 years, the first Osprey to be seen in West Salem at the 6 nesting sites I keep track of has been the Murlark Ave nest site.  Last year it was on the 18th of March, so their showing today is pretty much on time.  Osprey are known to return to the same nest site year after year, and I have reason to believe this is the same female as nested here successfully last year.  Female Osprey have a spotting on the chest that is often referred to as a necklace.  Her necklace is unusually broad and high up the neck.  See the photo below, taken on the same nest site on March 25, 2018. Why this nest site has constantly been the first to be occupied each season is purely speculation on my part, but perhaps they winter closer.  Maybe instead of migrating clear to South America, this is a pair that winters in Mexico and has less distance to travel in the Spring migration back North.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Delight In New Birding Spots

One of the things I enjoy the most is finding new locations to look for birds.  This was our quest yesterday when we went to look for Bonesteele Park, a Marion County Park located along the Aumsville Highway between Salem and Aumsville.  Although I have lived in Salem for fifty years, I had never been there. A little research on line, and with maps pin-pointed the location and we were off yesterday morning to find it.  A gravel parking lot with restrooms is located next to the highway. Large areas of grass fields and a wooded area make up this park.  It was a glorious spring like morning, and the portion of the park that is woods was filled with birds.  You can see our bird list here.  I was so impressed with this park for birding that I suggested to eBird that it be designated a eBird Hotspot.  Upon leaving we struck up a conversation with Steve Narrow the park maintenance person and he told us about the huge old Douglas Fir tree that is some 300 years old.  This is definitely a place we will return, and with it's Hotspot designation others will find it also.

woodsy path

Mourning Dove

Hairy Woodpecker female

Thursday, March 14, 2019

A Getaway to the Coast

We had a bit of a blank spot on our calendar, and the weather looked promising, so mid-day on Wednesday we took off for the coast in the van.  Most of our trips this winter have been in the southern direction on the coast to Florence or Coos Bay, for this trip we ventured north with our iternary including the Neskowin, Pacific City and Tillamook areas.

Knight County Park

Our first stop was Knight County Park, a combination boat launch and parking lot on the Salmon River estuary at the base of Cascade Head.  This a spot we stop at often to relax and enjoy some birding.  It worked out perfectly on this trip, which involved quite a bit of rain as we drove over the coast range, and then clear skies and sunshine when we reached the Salmon River.  A couple of short walks and some resting filled out our afternoon here.

Jeanette and Buster

Next we crossed  the cape and dropped down into Neskowin to the Neskowin State Rest Area, our nite time parking spot.  Here we took Buster for another walk before dining at the Hawk Creek Cafe.

A nice dinner just accross the street from the Rest Area, followed by a quiet night filled out a perfect first day.